© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: Puerto Rico Governor Wanda Vazquez speaks at a news conference in San Juan, Puerto Rico July 7, 2020. REUTERS/Ricardo Arduengo
US authorities on Thursday announced criminal charges against former Puerto Rican Governor Wanda Vazquez, who is in power from 2019 to 2021, for alleged corruption during his 2020 campaign. grandma.
The Department of Justice said in a statement the former governor was charged with conspiracy, bribery of federal programs and honest service fraud.
According to authorities, an Italian banker of Venezuelan descent and a former FBI agent paid about $300,000 to political consultants who supported Vazquez’s campaign in exchange for political favors.
Authorities allege that the owner of Bancredito bank, which is being investigated by the island’s regulator, indirectly asked Vazquez to replace the head of the regulator with a chosen leader. carefully.
Bancredito’s owner, Julio Martin Herrera Velutini, allegedly coordinated with one of Vazquez’s campaign staff, former FBI agent Mark Rossini, to carry out the bribe. Both have been counted alongside Vazquez.
Investigators say that following Vazquez’s 2020 primary election defeat, Herrera Velutini then attempted to bribe her successor, named only in the indictment as “Civil A. ”
The current governor of Puerto Rico, Pedro Pierluisi, is not under investigation, authorities said.
Vazquez, as well as Herrara and Rossini, could face up to 20 years in prison if convicted, US Attorney for the District of Puerto Rico Stephen Muldrow said at a news conference.
The Justice Department said Vazquez will appear in court for the first time on Thursday.